Evaluating the impact of aid to Africa: lessons from the Millennium Villages

3 July 2012 17:00-18:30 (GMT+01 (BST)) – Public event, Overseas Development Institute and screened live online

Register to attend

“At the turn of the century, Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, in partnership with the United Nations, established integrated rural development projects, known as Millennium Villages in ten African countries. When they came to be evaluated in 2011, an intense row broke out between development experts about their impact and sustainability.

ODI and the Royal Africa Society are delighted to host Michael Clemens who will argue that aid projects in Africa need much more careful impact evaluations that are transparent, rigorous, and cost-effective. Our panel of experts will also discuss the Millenium Villages project within the wider context of international aid to Africa, analysing other development models and questioning the impact of each one.”

The Big Push forward: The Australian Debate (Oct 2011)

October 26, 2011 by Chris Roche.

On 19 October 2011, Oxfam Australia hosted a ‘Big Push Forward‘ event in Melbourne with the co-conveners of this initiative – Rosalind Eyben and Irene Guijt. Sixty development practitioners, including AusAid staff and academics came together to discuss whether the concerns voiced by the Big Push Forward project are relevant in Australia.


Following an introduction from Rosalind and Irene, we  had short inputs from three speakers on how these issues resonated in our part of the world.  Dennis Altman, from the Institute of Human Security, at La Trobe University suggested that the neo-liberal language which permeates Western society has been recast in the development world. into an auditing culture, focusing on evaluation, monitoring, and counting beans.  Marc Purcell the CEO of Australia’s International NGO umbrella group ACFID noted that the commitment to international aid in Australia is extremely brittle, and that the public debate about aid in Australia has led to a deep anxiety in government about how the aid programme is being perceived. But he argued that maybe it’s no bad thing for economists to look at the work of ‘pampered NGOs’. Jess Dart, the Managing Director of consulting company Clear Horizon, felt that whilst Australian NGOs do more internal evaluation than most there was a view expressed at this year’s Australasian Evaluation Conference that ‘development is the cowboy of evaluation’.  If we can’t tell the story of what we’ve done, people will ask for results. There are lots of really good methods out there and we can use these to offer solid alternatives to tell more complex stories of transformation.

Continue reading “The Big Push forward: The Australian Debate (Oct 2011)”

Is Australian Aid Fair Dinkum? A Forum On The Independent Review Of Aid Effectiveness

Venue: Old Parliament House, 18 King George Tce, Parkes 8222, Canberra
Date: Tuesday, 13 September 2011 6:00 PM


“In a world where we have achieved so much, from quantum leaps in medical research to the development of sophisticated technologies, it seems implausible that there are more hungry people in the world today than the populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union combined.

But the picture isn’t all bleak. A recent report released by the United Nations reveals that we have made some significant progress in our bid to alleviate poverty around the world, and the Independant Review of Aid Effectiveness commissioned by the Australian Government has made some assessments and recommendations that could help guide progress in the future.

However, when it comes to the complex issue of poverty alleviation, there are no simple answers.

What are some of the challenges faced when it comes to ensuring that we are taking the smartest and most efficient approach to tackling poverty? What are the timeframes within which we can realistically expect change to happen? And are we doing enough to address structural and behavioural issues that perpetuate gender inequality and other forms of exploitation that continue the vicious cycle of poverty.

How much of a difference are we actually making?”

Speakers include:

  • James Batley – Deputy Director-General, Asia Pacific and Program Enabling Group, AusAID
  • Stephen Howes – Director, Development Policy Centre, ANU and member of Independent Aid Effectiveness Review panel
  • Dr Julia Newton-Howes – Chief Executive, CARE AustraliaNikunj Soni – Board Chair, Pacific Institute of Public Policy, Vanuatu

Registration and other information here

A results take-over of aid effectiveness? How to balance multiple or competing calls for more accountability

Date: 25 July 2011 12:00-13:30 (GMT+01 (BST))
Venue: British Academy, London

This debate will explore possible tensions – and opportunities – when donors seek to reassure domestic publics that aid is being spent well, while also endeavouring to support the needs and priorities of aid recipient countries and their citizens.

The language of results is not new – it is integral to the aid effectiveness agenda. But against the backdrop of growing financial constraints, it is receiving renewed emphasis in many donor countries. This debate will explore possible tensions, as well as opportunities, where donors seek to reassure domestic publics that aid is being spent well while they also endeavour to support the needs and priorities of aid recipient countries and their citizens. How can domestic accountability to both these constituencies be supported more effectively? Are there tensions between these different stakeholders and forms of accountability, and how can they be addressed?

Sarah Cliffe – Special Representative and Director, World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development
Sue Unsworth – The Policy Practice, and ODI Board Member
Alan Hudson – Senior Policy Manager, Governance (Transparency & Accountability), ONE
John Morlu – former Auditor General, Liberia
Chair:  Alison Evans – Director, ODI

An ODI and BBC World Service Trust public event in the Busan and beyond: aid effectiveness in a new era series.

Click for more details           Register to attend this event

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